Vanquish is an action game with tons of flair. It takes the over-the-top antics from games like Bayonetta, and fuses it with cover based run-and-gun gameplay from Gears of War, to create a highly enjoyable and stylish shooter. Unfortunately it’s also hampered by a bunch of issues that prevent it from becoming a must-own title.
Vanquish takes place in the near future as America is under siege from terrorist Soviet forces that have already annihilated San Francisco. As the fate of all America hangs in the balance, you come in as Sam Gideon, a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) Agent who along with his nifty ARS (Augmented Reaction Suit) is tasked with saving the day and apprehending all those who oppose Uncle Sam. Vanquish isn’t particularly heavy on the plot and none of its pivotal characters are very likable. Sam himself comes off as a Solid Snake wannabe who always seems like he’s growling or maybe has a really bad throat, thanks to all the cigarettes he keeps smoking. And then you have Colonel Burns, an angry, grizzled war veteran who wields a gun bigger than himself. The game tries really hard to maintain some sort of banter between the two but it never quite works – on any level.
So anyway, it’s a given that you won’t be playing Vanquish for a riveting plot. What you’ll be interested in is the action and that, ladies and gentleman, is available in spades. Sam’s fancy suit allows him to literally slide all over the battlefield and shooting enemies while sliding slows time down allowing players to pick off their targets with relative ease and style. Slide up real close to an enemy and you can leap off it (in slow motion) by quickly pressing the melee key, showering it in a hail of bullets on your way down. The game even throws you a bone when you’re about to die by automatically slowing time down, allowing you to narrowly dodge death. Slowing time down, using melee attacks and dodging deaths all overheat the suit which then requires a short cool down period. During this period Sam is extremely vulnerable so hiding behind cover then would be an excellent idea. Initially this won’t pose a threat but as you progress through the game and the difficulty ramps up, things get pretty intense and you constantly have to make a conscious effort to keep your (suit) cool (and I’m being quite literal here).
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